The target population contains members of a group that a researcher is interested in studying. The results of the study are generalized to this population, because they all have significant traits in common.>
The "sample" is different. This is the actual group from which data is collected. It is a subset of the population and should be a typical representation of the larger group. Depending upon the size and type of the population and the type of study, different methods are available to help identify a fair sample, such as random sampling and matched sampling. Populations and samples do not need to be humans. Research can collect information on a wide range of subjects, including animals, plants and manufactured goods.